Way of the Roses - Training and Preparation

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Way of the Roses - Training and Preparation

Post by PanBiker » 29 Aug 2014, 18:46

Way of the Roses is a 170 mile cycle route between Morecambe on the West coast of Lancashire and Bridlington on the East coast of the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Way of the Roses

When it was decided that a group of us would have a go at the Way of the Roses coast to coast bike ride it was clear that due to the varying abilities of the participants it would be a good idea to start regular training rides at the weekends. To this end and mainly for the Barlick, Earby and Barrowford contingency we had one of our group (Mick) acting as route planner and training ride coordinator.

I started a closed Facebook group for the ride which acted as the main focus for all the training rides and logistical planning for the event itself. It worked very well and served to keep everyone involved updated on each other’s progress and the other practicalities of what would be required. One use that social media is very good for.

Our group training rides started in earnest in early April with an easy assessment ride to Barrowford and back on the canal bank, 11 and a bit miles and no hills. The next ride increased to nearer 20 miles with a few hills as we pushed out into the Ribble Valley. Rides from then on gradually increased in distance and severity with more hills and longer climbs to build up stamina. We did quite few over the same routes so we had direct comparison to judge our performance. We did number of different routes around Horton, Paythorne, Wigglesworth, Tosside, Bolton by Bowland and Gisburn. There is lots of opportunity to vary the routes around the lanes and gradually increase the distance to 30 miles and above for a Sunday morning run.

Most participants were also slotting midweek rides in whenever personal circumstance permitted. For myself, working part time came in very handy so I could often get a few extra ones in varying in distance between 10 and 30 miles depending on what time I had available.

As the coast to coast includes a couple of fairly brutal climbs, on day one out of Settle and on day two over to Pateley Bridge via Greenhow we had to increase the hill challenges a bit so we then switched to tackling higher terrain. By June and July we were ranging out around Gargrave, Airton, Settle, Langcliffe and returning via Arncliffe, Kilnsey, Cracoe and Hetton. Some pretty challenging hills around here so plenty of scope for testing us. Our longest training ride ended up at 53 miles. I have to say that after doing that one I felt a lot more confident about doing the event itself so the training was doing its job so thanks goes to Mick for the structured build up.

The logistics of backup and the organising of accommodation was ongoing at the same time as we were training. One of the problems we came across was that lots of the hotels a B&B’s along the route will not take a single nights booking many require a minimum of two nights stay which is not really acceptable. Coupled with the fact that we were looking for beds for 16 people and over a Bank Holiday weekend it was no mean feat finding places that could accommodate us all as a group. Splitting up would have impacted the logistics enormously.

The route is 170 miles or thereabouts and suggested overnight stops are Cracoe at the end of day one (47 miles) and York on day two. Fine if you are an individual, couple or maybe three riders but there was no availability for our group in those locations. For our first stop we had to book the YHA at Malham, this left us a little short on our day one distance, 6 miles short on the route and then a 3 mile detour to take us up into Malham. Beggars can’t be choosers so we booked this as our first overnight stop taking the hit on the extra miles that would be added to the second leg. Unfortunately we had no luck in York either for our size of group so second night accommodation had to be booked at Pocklington. The normal ride from Cracoe to York is 62 miles for day two. Adding our 6 extra from Airton and a further 15 from York to Pocklington turned day two into 83 miles with a very big hill in the way not long into the day.

None of our group had gone anywhere near this distance in a single day in training; none of our bikes had lights either so we knew that this would mean an early start in the morning. In training we could maintain an average of about 8 to 10 miles an hour over hilly terrain. On best estimate it would be 8 hours not including rest and food stops. Quite a challenge, but one that could not be avoided.

York to Bridlington is 61 miles. If we could make Pocklington by the end of day two this would reduce day three to 46 miles in the gentler Yorkshire Wolds which would be welcome for the last leg. So we booked into the Yorkway Motel at Pocklington for the end of day two.

The YHA has a staffed canteen as well as self-catering facilities; a far cry from the YHA’s that I remember from my youth. Malham YHA has had about 4 million pounds spent on it in a major refurbishment. The YHA run canteen does not open until 7.30am and we wanted to be off by then so we would have to self-cater for breakfast at the start of day two. The Motel bookings came with a full English breakfast so we knew we would have a more leisurely start and be better fed for the start of the shorter last leg.

Overnight accommodation was all sorted and booked by early April, cost per person for both venues worked out at £57.00. All costs and overheads such as these were paid by the participants. We could now move on to the other logistical problems such as bike, luggage and on the road sustenance and transportation. We needed enough vehicles to be able to transport all the bikes and participants to the start point at Morecambe and then return them home after the finish at Bridlington. Barlick is roughly 50 miles from Morecambe and 120 from Bridlington.

Our Virgin Money Giving page was set up on behalf of our group towards the end of April by Will one of our younger participants. We did not start pushing the sponsorship until nearer our start date though. We wanted to avoid starting too early and have potential donor’s loose interest by the time the event started. Another good use of social media here in that once we did launch the appeal the details were shared around lots of “friends” lists on Facebook, consequently we have donations from many who are not directly connected locally. In that respect it acts like a bit of a chain letter but has nothing but benefit for the charity.
By the end of July planning was almost complete, training was well in hand and we were finally firming up on the numbers of riders and support personnel. It was mooted that we have a full final round the table meeting for everyone involved. This was held down at Rolls Royce Social Club on the 1st August.

From an original twelve, the final line up of riders was ten, Kate, Mick, Catherine, Linda, Peter, Julie, Martin, Jack, Will and myself Ian.

Support team would comprise of Ian, Vicki and Sally with Brian joining on the second day.

Catherine and her partner Ian both hold managerial posts at Rolls. Catherine had a produced a PowerPoint presentation for the group based on the Sustrans Way of the Roses route map and other information available. Mick’s wife Kate had worked out our expected stopping points for refreshments each day for snacks and lunch stops. Everyone involved was at the meeting and we agreed the final itinerary for the three days and how the support group would work.

Ian had secured us a long wheelbase Mercedes van which was sponsored by Rolls Royce. He would drive this over the weekend and provide transport for all the bikes to the start and back from the finish. The van was big enough to carry the majority of the luggage and provisions for along the route. Kate and Micks daughter Vicki would drive their estate car and my wife Sally would take our 5 door Renault hatch. Baggage and provisions would be juggled between vehicles as required.

We were still training into August, it was agreed that all training runs would end the last weekend before the event and that the following week immediately before the Bank Holiday weekend would be a rest period ready for the start on the Saturday. All riders were encouraged to make sure their bikes were fully roadworthy and fit for the journey and everyone should carry common spare parts and tools for any general running repairs that may be required.

We all provided our mobile numbers so that all could contact anyone else in the riders or support groups.

Kate finalised the itinerary and circulated all participants with the details via email.

Bikes had to be at Rolls Royce Social Club for loading on the van by 8.30am on Saturday morning of the Bank Holiday Weekend. We were looking to start from Morecambe at 10.00am. Our car would take 5, Vicky’s would take 5 and the other 3 would go in the van, this would still leave enough room for Brian on the journey home.

As it turned out, we had a family holiday booked for the week immediately preceding the rest week so in effect my training rides ended a week earlier. I dropped my bike down to the new bike shop in Earby before I went on holiday and had the brakes and gears serviced and some new peddles fitted suitable for adding toe clips and an extra water bottle and cage. I normally carry a short pump on the second frame fitting but I decided that I would carry that in my rucksack and the availability of double hydration would be a better option. We came back from holiday in Norfolk on the Saturday and I picked my bike up on the Monday, it rode well back to Barlick after its service. I fitted my toe clips during the week.

On the Friday I checked my tyres for 45psi front and back. My small seat bag held two spare inner tubes, puncture repair kit, tyre levers, multitool, and a set of combination spanners.

We packed our bags and provisions for the weekend and I loaded up the car. All that could be done had been done.

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Re: Way of the Roses - Training and Preparation

Post by Wendyf » 29 Aug 2014, 19:07

:uhoh: Anxiously waiting for the next installment! :uhoh2:

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